The CD Audio Thread

That is another point I had made in the past. Duplicating what was heard in the control room would be a herculean task.

You would not only need the exact same gear and listening space, but have to measure the drifted values of resistors, capacitors, etc. in the gear and duplicate that. It’s impossible.

Also consider that some mixes are intentionally done on crappy cheap speakers in order to appeal to those listening on earbuds, in cars and so on.

These sniffy audiofools with their $12K AC cords and $1K depleted unobtainium styluses are about as far away as they could possibly be from what some marching powder-fueled producer decided to hear.

I am also thinking of someone in a famous band who had all of his drum tracks scrapped and replaced with that of a studio drummer.

The band’s drummer actually said that he was really pleased, it was his best recorded performance ever. Which he never knew wasn’t even him. So I guess that qualifies “as the artist intended” in a way.

I think as modelers, speaking for myself, I have had artistic intentions, but I end up with something else altogether. I can relate. :smile:

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Creatives on parametric EQ vs graphic EQ…run

Ironic the majority of listening probably

  1. in an automobile, truck or SUV
  2. or with ear buds

Usually not an ideal environment, but is there a wrong way to drink Scotch?

I’d say there isn’t.

Regarding artist & artistic control, a lot depends on who the artist is and how well their music performed (sells) or didn’t.

In 1989, studio time started at $125 an hour, so yes there can be pressure put on artists…

I mean if you’re the Big Boss at the label, typically 5 out 6 of your signed artists LO$E money. Why would anyone care what artists bleeding the company think creatively or otherwise?

Now that 1 out 6 artist, making pay and carrying the dead weight for the label, will normally be able to get some sort of consideration.

When a successful artist of the magnitude like an Eric Clapton (1980’s) or a Kayne West (2000’s) “communicates” folks tend to listen very carefully to what’s being said or suggested or the concern.

Geese laying the golden eggs have clout, not Thanksgiving turkeys.


Quote of the Year!


A wire service writer I know told me years ago what the late Neil Peart said in an interview.

It was along the lines of how most everyone might assume Rush has total creative control in the studio, but the reality was that they had to go to the mat with the label on every single album.


YES. By adding water /soda! :face_vomiting: :joy:


I drink cheap beer because if you stop drinking cheap beer, they’ll stop making it.

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Just got this.


Yamaha NS-10s. :roll_eyes: Never understood why they were in so many studios. One day a producer i knew enlightened me: Everyone uses NS-10s because everyone uses NS-10. His home listening speakers were NS-10 for the simple reason that those were at least one set of speakers that any given record was mixed on. :man_shrugging: I did, a l m o s t buy a pair…once. :face_with_open_eyes_and_hand_over_mouth:

I work in audio post. Mixes are done on the good speakers. When producers come in for playback, we switch to Auratones so they can have a better idea what it will sound like on broadcast. Auratones are not so much crappy as purposely limited to give an idea what the mix will sound like through an average TV. In that world, its all about context. Folks with surround systems that have different playback enviorments to select can seriously mess up a films sonic intentions. That’s frustrating.


This is a really interesting conversation.

My thoughts, and you’ve touched on it with somewhat with session musicians, is the actual talent in the studios. Listen to studio music by someone like Linda Ronstadt vs any new auto-tune pop artist is ear killing. Auto-tune’s timeline would coincide with the excessive over produced albums timelines. Lets add more layers of compression by doubling the vocal and instrument tracks so it sounds full to an already weak song.

Most vocals, guitar and bass players use a compressor on their rigs to shape and open their sound not to squash it. Natural compression in tube amps, cranking the master volume (Fender Champ/ Tweed, Vox AC15/ AC30) that’s what I’m talkin’ about! There shouldn’t be a need to add very much compression, one layer in the final mix, ssying that I’m also not that knowledgeable in mastering.

I’ve always said listen to a bands earliest music live, that is the testament of their true talents and sound. I still prefer a live CD to a studio. Live a band can be stripped down to their roots and faults. My favourite live band is Motorhead.

Case in point about another artist re-recording someone else (IMO); Torri Amos - Smells Like Teen Spirit…

@Armor_Buff C&W was always chalkboard sound to me growing up. Now I’m listening to more of it in my aging, not Hank Williams and not R&R with a fiddle either, ok Jason Isbel and Amanda Shiers (heard she’s single now).

@Evan ha, I owned a pair of those Yamaha’s when I used to do some desktop recording. A buddy recommended them as a no-frills basic monitor.

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If you want to treat your stereo, and your ears, to a simply stunning recording (and performance) I strongly recomend Shelby Lynne’s album “Just A Little Lovin’”. Produced by Phil Ramone, engineered by Al Schmitt. And the band! With Dean Perks on guitar! These are guys who play slow; and still groove.

@Barney Jason Isbel has never not impressed me. Wow is he good. And he seems like a genuinely good man.

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Which, judging by the smart and reasonable personalities on this board is precisely why I thought it would be very good to broach this topic here.

No drivebys, no thread-crapping, no handbag swinging matches. Just reasonable adults.

Regarding digital, the video below, for me, settles matters.

If someone is so utterly troubled by 44.1kHz and imagines they can somehow “hear” that then I must again ask how they didn’t hear MoFi’s digital sources.

I run my DAC through a Chi-Fi Music Fidelity X10-D clone that I rebuilt. Some aspects benefited, others such as replacing all resistors with Takman and Yageo yielded nothing I could discern.

I for one, enjoy the slight coloration that tubes provide.

Poor Stephe on two forums when she brought up building the 12AU7 Color Preamp. Attacked mercilessly in some cases.

I’d like to build it someday. Not sure why it has a tube rectifier, but still worth a shot.



@M70 Outstanding point, this is easily the best and most civil forum/online community I’ve engaged with on like 20+ years online.

Speaking of artistic “Total Creative Control” it’s best for artists to have a lot of control etc. Yet, I can’t help but think of this example of an artist with Total Creative Control.


No matter how good an artist maybe sometimes they need to be checked and told their idea needs polished or revised.

Tom Clancy is another great example of TCC gone wrong. Initially he had to listen to his editors and his first half dozen books or so were fantastic. Then he became a Big Name and didn’t have to listen and his work mostly turned into crap.

It’s bizarre but sometimes some restriction(s) or an editor actually stimulates the creativity process and end result :thinking:

Many who think they have “incredible” hearing can’t hear in the high frequency range.

Then there’s the folks who actually can hear the difference between two mastering LBR’s (Laser Beam Recorders aka cutters).* One can run a bit to bit comparison on the data from CD’s from the two different cutters and it will match perfectly according to the data verification software. Yet some well trained professional audio engineers can consistently hear the difference and prove they hear the difference in blind and double blind testing.

The data verification says the two CD’s from two different LBR’s are the same. The Golden Ear says the two CD’s sound different and prove they DO HEAR a difference. How is that possible?

Welcome to the not so wonderful world of jitter aka clock jitter or timing errors. All the data is indeed present on both CD’s but one has high jitter and sounds like crap. The high jitter CD may have all of the data but that data isn’t exactly located at the correct time. That a superficial description of jitter. The human ear excels at detecting this sort of discrepancy.

How can that be? The bit for bit verification says everything is there.

In a very basic layman’s terms, the data is all there but thanks to merge bits that aren’t accounted for the data verification process the data might not be in the exact “location” it should be in.

The good news is tight specification and rigorous QA to ensure the cut master had low jitter reduced this to a non-issue eventually. Likewise, QA checks on the replicated CD samples to ensured products had low jitter.

However, in the 1980’s and early 1990’s, jitter was a nebulous issue until proper test equipment and specifications were developed.

*Much to my surprise, I was able to hear the difference in LBR’s in a blind listening test with six different CD samples of the same content.

Two true audio experts ranked the six CD from best to worst. They were in perfect agreement in their rankings.

I was tested with the samples. I ranked them exactly backwards of how the experts did. What sounded good to them sound bad to me and vice-versa. That was pretty disappointing.

They pointed out it was obvious what was happening. I consistently heard the difference in the six CD’s but I didn’t have a professionally trained/calibrated ear to know what was good. They said it would be possible learn the nuances of what was good since I could hear the differences.

In other words, I was musically ignorant on nuances and needed musical education.

:laughing: :rofl: :joy: :joy_cat: :laughing:

For home listening, my view is find speakers you like and build everything else around them. JBL’s for my budget. I liked JBL’s jazz friendly crossovers, mid-range & high end and overall versatile nature.


I gave up my “big” stereo a few years ago. I have a Sonos system and either stream Spotify or 250 GB of FLAC files. If I want to appreciate music I use headphones.

@M70 am I right to assume a DAC would not improve the listening stream of FLAC?

I am definitely not one to weigh in on that topic. I am strictly a physical media guy.

That said, there are those who use DACs for streaming and I would assume most outboard DACs are superior to those found in a laptop.

Below is what interested me in the SMSL SU-1. As mentioned, it employs an AK4493 and LME49720. Fine chips for certain, but the implementation is what lifts this DAC into the realm of superb detail, dynamics and frequency response for me.

Speaking of cover tunes. I really like what Aino Laos did with this.

On CD, the stereo imaging, soundstage depth is amazing.

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@M70 - The flaming skeleton took me by surprise. Not exactly how I think of Boston’s premier hit. :joy:
BUT… it’s a good cover. Thanks for sharing.

Found these two cartoons. They are self explanatory.


Even I could understand those schematics …
:+1: :rofl: :rofl:

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Sounds good even on the LowFi speakers lurking behind my computer screens processed by a bog-standard sound-card in my ThinkPad.
Must be great on better equipment.

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Good informative, but long thread.